Desires are part of human nature. If a person’s desires are channelled correctly, it can become the greatest driving force towards good. For instance, if a person’s most intense desire is to attain the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala and to acquire the everlasting abode of Jannah, this desire will become the strongest motivating factor towards righteous actions. Such a person will be most eager to fulfil all the obligations of Deen.
He will be most eager to hasten towards the Musjid when the time of Salaah comes. In fact Salaah will be the coolness of his eyes,tilaawat (recitation) of the Quran will be his refreshment, zikr and dua will be his energy and living to serve Allah Ta’ala will be his oxygen. His adornment will be excellent akhlaaq (character, such as sincerity, humility, tolerance, forgiveness, etc), outstanding mu’aasharat (social interaction, such as kind treatment to parents, spouses, family members, neighbours, etc) and honest and upright mua’malaat (monetary dealings and transactions).
Since he is driven by the desire to please Allah Ta’ala, he will automatically flee from everything that displeases his Creator and Sustainer. Going towards sin for him will be like going towards a blazing fire. Thus a person whose greatest desire is to please Allah Ta’ala will be an asset to himself, a true blessing to his family and community and a boon to humanity.
LIFE DICTATED AND CONTROLLED
On the contrary, if one’s greatest desires are wealth, power, status and the leisure and pleasure of this world, the situation will be very different. His life will be dictated, controlled and directed by the desire to earn wealth, grab power, enhance his worldly position and status and chase fun and entertainment.
In warning against this, Allah Ta’ala declares in the Glorious Quran: “And do not follow your base desires, or else it will deviate you from the path of Allah”. Tragically, due to the western culture having overwhelmed us, base desires have indeed become the driving force in our lives.
Halaal wealth is certainly a great blessing. However unbridled desire for wealth will lead to much transgression of the laws of Allah Ta’ala. Salaah, or performing salaah with jamaat, will be missed due to business. Honesty and fair dealings will become casualties in the quest for more profit. Akhlaaq (good character) will be discarded. Hence people who work around him will be subjected to abuse. Vulgar language will become acceptable “business talk and industrial language”.
Relationships will be severed purely on the basis of wealth. Hence, the damage that unrestrained desire of wealth, power, status, etc. can cause is endless. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has encapsulated this in a very concise Hadith wherein he said: “The love (uncurbed desire) for the world is the root to every sin.”
Another Hadith describes it in a parable wherein Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Two hungry wolves cannot cause as much damage to a flock of sheep as the damage that the greed for wealth and position can do to a person’s Deen” (Mishkaat).
The desire for worldly position and status will destroy a person’s hard earned wealth and his Aakhirat (Hereafter). From paying exorbitant amounts for brand labels to squandering vast sums on lavish weddings and functions — everything will be done to enhance one’s “status” in society. If the people that one is trying to impress are shameless, one will be driven by the desire to fit in with them to also adopt their shamelessness in one’s ways, attire, etc. For example, clothes will be selected on the basis of how much they expose rather than how much they cover!!!
FUN AND ENTERTAINMENT
The desire for entertainment also, once let loose, will cause havoc to one’s Deen, family life, work, etc. How many marriages are being rocked due to the crave for entertainment. Many cases have been reported wherein one of the spouses was “entertaining” themselves by engaging in haraam “chats” on Mxit, Facebook, BBM and other such media. Many people complain of their spouse spending hours on the internet or playing computer games (yes, adults addicted to computer games) but they have no time for their families. When the desire for entertainment becomes a crave, one’s life revolves around holidays, merry making and generally chasing fun. Once the artificial things fail to give any satisfaction, which is bound to happen, one begins to look for new ways and spends more money to entertain oneself, hence one’s life and wealth is wasted in this rat race.
Even worse is the situation where aged parents are abandoned in old-age homes and elsewhere because they have become an obstacle in their children having their holidays and entertainment!!! Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raajioon.
LIFE IS PRECIOUS
Our life is very precious and very short indeed. We have no guarantee of tomorrow. In this short life we must suppress and curb all those desires that invite the wrath and displeasure of Allah Ta’ala. The following are some suggestions that will help us to suppress the unlawful desires and save ourselves from destruction in this world and the hereafter:
- Daily spend a few minutes remembering death. Picture the entire scene of death. Also imagine what will be the case if, Allah forbid, your death comes while you are engaged in fulfilling a haraam desire.
- Dedicate time daily for Zikr (the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala). Recite at least 100 times Istighfaar and 100 times Durud Sharif.
- The recitation of the Qur’an shareef must be a part of one’s daily life
- Totally avoid all things that incite haraam desires. Misuse of the cell-phone, internet and other media is our biggest downfall.
- Engage in the effort of Deen. Invite others to make acquiring the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala their greatest desire in life.
- Among the most effective methods to overcome the challenges and fitnas of evil desires is to sincerely attach oneself to a spiritual guide who is on the path of Haq and who adheres to the sunnah in all aspects of life. One should commit oneself to consulting with him in all matters and then act upon his advice.
May Allah Ta’ala protect us from the evil of our nafs (base desires) and fill our hearts with the desire to please Him in all that we do.